“Spirituality” is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts to define, especially in our post-modern, materialistic obsessed culture. Spirituality is not about “the mystical” as suggested in popular Kabbalah and nor is it about retreat and isolation as some new-age practices proclaim.
At its core, spirituality is about connection. In its many manifestations a spiritual person is one who is connected to their surroundings and also, importantly, to themselves.
True connectedness really relies on a sense of interdependence; the understanding that we are dependent on the people and things that we connect to and in turn, those people and things are dependent on us. The more genuine connections we make to our surroundings the more spiritual we become.
This concept of connectedness is particularly difficult for those of us who have grown up in a contemporary western culture that holds notions of independence and individuality as such praiseworthy values.
Embracing a sense of dependency might sound difficult and even a little counterintuitive but a lot of good can come from the simple realisation that the people around us are much more then social toys to be interacted with when we feel like it. People need to be seen as sources of nourishment that are essential to our survival! Community is actually rooted in dependence on others: a mutual dependence where people and environment rely in some way on the other for survival and vice versa.
Powerful and long lasting relationships happen when one set of unique attributes are joined together with another set of unique attributes, in the hope of fulfilling a shared goal. When we can give to the needs of others and fulfill our own needs from what others have to offer, do we attain a sense of community. This state of mind is the true meaning of spirituality.
So how do we go about achieving a level of spirituality in today’s urbanised and often isolating environment?
Community is about belonging to a group of people who share similar life goals and ambitions. Yes, people can and should differ on the exact details and approach, but ultimately a community works together to build a shared vision. Why not embark on a project with some of your friends? Sit together over a drink and discuss your passions, searching for overlapping interests. The project can be anything you like as long as it grips all of you involved and has an identifiable goal that you can all agree to work towards. Whatever you choose it should be something that you all care deeply about. Next, go round to your friends and talk about the unique skills each of you can contribute to achieve to make the project a success. No single person should have all the attributes needed to successfully complete the project (if one of you does you need to find a more challenging project!) Assign roles to each person based on their unique skills and get to work on your project! This model may sound simplistic but it is very powerful! Here, every member of the group is important and essential if the goal of the project is to be achieved. Each individual has a commitment, not just to the group as a whole, but to each person as an individual. The stronger each person’s belief in the end goal the stronger the sense of community between the group. This is a very powerful connection.
Spirituality is not something one can ultimately experience in isolation. Spirituality is the practice of connecting to our surroundings and is as much a physical experience as it is a state of mind. Perhaps even more so… Conversation and group gatherings may be part of building a community but it is only when we rely on those around us and allow them to rely on us that community is elevated to its true spiritual form.
Originally published on cartoonkippah.com